Commonly asked questions about investing in the matatu industry.

15 Dec

I wish to venture into the transport industry but I don’t know how to access asset finance loan. I request u share with me the knowledge u got in that sector I and those who will read through this.

NIC Bank offers asset finance facilities to both NIC Bank account holders and non account holders as well. The level of finance basically depends on the client’s ability to repay. The specific terms for financing of p.s.v units are;

Finance of up to 70% of the cost of the unit / We only finance brand new p.s.v units

The maximum period of finance is 36 months/Finance can be to a SACCO, Limited entity or an individual.

However an individual will need to belong to a SACCO/a registered entity since TLB licenses are no longer being issued to individuals

For borrowing below kes.15m, the client will only need to provide original bank statements as the main basis for credit appraisal. However borrowing above Kes.15m would need to be supported by audited accounts in addition to the bank statements

If I purchase a Matatu which is the best Route to place it in and Why according to your Opinion?

There is not all that much difference in routes; not unless the road is in bad condition or traffic jammed. The daily income is almost the same. But there are some routes that have very bad reputation for harassing investors and gross extortion. take for instance Kayore and Dadora routes which are said to be controlled by cartels. In those routes, investors get a low deal since they are forced to abide by the rules set by the groups. You can not hire your own staff as the routes has their own drivers and a fixed income regardless of the flow of passengers. I can only speak well of Route 125/125 where i have been operating for the last 10yrs as i know this route to have less external interference as compared to other routes.

Which Sacco is the most beneficial according to your study of the Industry and why?

Most of the saccos especially in routes that didn’t have them before it was made a requirement have not yet come up with proper management skills that i can honestry tell you are the best. There are those that have been in operation for several years and i haven’;t seen them helping members buy new vehicles or help them in maintaining their fleet in-case of major repairs like engine knock and so on. Different Sacco’s have different ways of doing business. Most of them have been in business for year or so; We haven’t seen any buses they have bought as a sacco, so, I guess it’s the individual owners who decide what to do with the income.

 How much would the Matatu be earning on average per day if its a Good Route and a Good Sacco, Give me a rough estimate In accordance to what other 33 seater’s Earn currently?

Currently a 39 seater matatu operating on route 125 makes an average of 8.000 kshs after all expenses. this is also the case with 33 seater as the fare from Rongai to Nairobi is not fixed. This has much to do with the crew and their experience in the job. I said Average- because most of the times a 33 seater makes 10.000 but there are a few bills to pay that don’t end up in the chart. If you were to invest in a mini-bus, its better to do your calculations based on that average. it leaves a happy cop, a happy driver, a full tank and a smiling conductor.

Which Sacco is the Best between  MOA ,City Hoppa, City Shuttle and KBS or which one would you suggest that is the best?

The one’s you have mentioned are management companies. They are among the biggest names in the transport sector but this are not sacco but companies; either limited by shares or privately owned. This does not make them the best option if you are looking for a savings and credit kind of thing. i hear most of them demand a bigger percentage from the investor and Most of the drivers who work for those big names have a reputation of misusing the vehicles as they try to make extra cash to make up for the pay package.
I would strongly advice you to join the newly registered saccos. WHY? the reason for this is because they will involve you in the day-to day running of your investment since they only provide you with the legal requirement but leaves you to manage your fleet, hire workers of your choice and get your money at the end of the day.

How can you be sure that your matatu is well driven and well maintained and making profit?

That’s where {WE} come in. Rongai matatu workers welfare {registered} has brought together 200 plus members; all of them actively involved in matatu business. This is a new entry in the competitive running of the matatu business and it will be our vehicle to securing thousands of jobs. The idea of starting a staff management company run by matatu workers came to show the way forward to finding a permanent solution to employment in the matatu/transport sector and at the same time restore road sanity on our roads. Our task is to train/re-train competent and qualified workers. Ours will be vetting and recommending well trained and disciplined driver to any investor or institutions requiring those services.

Feel free to inquire for more information.

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Posted by on December 15, 2012 in Matatu matters


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58 responses to “Commonly asked questions about investing in the matatu industry.

  1. John

    March 1, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    Hi wambururu i have been toying with the idea of matatu business for sometime but i can not be able to raise the required 5.8 million to buy a new one. This has forced me to change my choices to second hand which would cost me around 1.8 m. what worries me most is the quality of the bus i am likely to buy. am i likely to sink my money in a second hand and end up regretting? Could you please clarify this? are used buses trouble some for starters? and finally, do we have saccos which can be able to manage vehicles in the total absence of the owner i.e., total management if the owner does not have alot of time. Plus could you comment on the recent influx of buses in nairobi. Does this mean cut throat competition thus reduced incomes

    • wambururu

      March 7, 2013 at 10:14 am

      I hope my guess is right that you don’t want to take a loan to finance your investment. This is a good start for you because you are not in so much of a hurry to pay back, plus the accumulating interest.
      A second hand bus can be a blessing or curse [truth doesn’t sound so well} but in business, you have to take the risk otherwise you will never know where you stand. It would be even better for you if you have people who work with institutions like colleges, universities or even companies that provide transport to their staffs; this can really help you get a company maintained second hand bus that will serve you best. You can also get lucky and buy a repossessed one from auctioneers.
      The major challenge you can ever met as a bus owner is mechanical problem. And the most expensive is engine replacement which cost about 600.000 {note REPLACEMENT not repairing.} that is to say, you can afford to keep the bus on the road if the engine is okay. I would advice you to open a separate bank account for the bus and only start drawing from it after you hit the half million mark, that way you can be able to get a good night sleep knowing you are in control no matter what.
      Most Sacco operate as financial platform and don’t offer much in terms of management; but there ere individuals; I included; who can run your investment smoothly with less or no involvement from the investor.We have an umbrella called matatu workers welfare where we manage vehicles, in partnership with different saccos operating in Ongata Rongai. currently we have 4 buses[ Makes 10.000 per day} 1 Minibus 25 seater {makes 7.000} 4 Toyota 14 seaters { makes 3—4—4500 per day}
      The influx of buses in the city is as you have put it, it is a law in business that with high supplies demand goes down and so does the price of the commodity..

  2. simon

    March 10, 2013 at 3:40 pm

    I was in a matatu bussines 3 years a go a long narok -bomet -kericho -nakuru. since then i was engaged in further studies here in the city. Now i want to make a come back.As i was searching trough the web i came a cross your information. now that i still own the 14seater matatu and the route of choice is Ongata rongai and i’m interested in joining your sacco. Please advice me accordingly.

  3. Simon Mwangi

    June 12, 2013 at 2:37 am

    I’m currently out of the country and intends to import a Nissan urvan14 seater from Japan. Pls. advise on gov. duty, registration, contract with organizations which manages matatu’s (long distance), and the process of engagement. Pls. also let me know the benefits and risks thereof.

    • wambururu

      June 12, 2013 at 10:21 am

      I hope you mean you want a 14 seater but not necessary a NISSAN- I would recommend a Toyota; Either 5L or 7L engine. Toyota is good for Kenyan Roads unlike a Nissan.
      A new Toyota 7L costs about 2.4m here so i hope it will cost less if you want to import it yourself. You said you want to get in touch with a management company– sure i will hook you up once you have identified the route you want to do business in then we can see what the requirements are.
      The benefits is as i have explained in the post so also are the risks. Importing a vehicle stright from Japan is the same as to say you have enough to start with a second hand already registered vehicle which will cost about 800K.This vehicle will not need any process as it will come with all the required papers, all you need is an insurance cover.
      I would advice you to start with half the amount you are willing to invest in importing a new nissan. Buy a registered Toyota first and later grow the brand if you like the returns.

  4. Simon M

    June 13, 2013 at 4:50 am

    Thank you for your insight information. In order to make an informed decision, how reliable is second hand vehicle. Which are the viable routes?, taking into account that I’m not physically available to monitor the daily activities.

    • wambururu

      June 13, 2013 at 11:57 am

      most 14 seaters are second hand even from the very beginning when they are imported from Dubai. But the good thing about them is that they are backed by unlimited supply of spare parts including whole engines and certain body parts like the face, doors etc. Once you have identfied a good vehicle you can refurbish it and renew any part giving it a longer lifespan.
      The roads network in the whole country has improved and almost all routes are safer although there are several that are ore profitable. Managing your investment will not be problem as we have several companies ho do just that. I personaly manage some matatus owned by people i have only meet once face to face.

  5. Simon M

    June 23, 2013 at 7:43 am

    Sir, what are the bank interest rates, is it possible to open an account with the lending bank without being there physically. What are the short and long term goals do I need to focus on for rapid business growth?

  6. willy

    June 25, 2013 at 7:31 pm

    am a young entrepreneure willing to join the matatu industry moreso in the embasavva sacco plying embakasi qstns are 1.what are the terms and conditions of joining the much does a 33seater bring as revenue per day considering am being financed 70% by my i making a wise idea considering i ve never been into this business. and 4.major challenges in this business.

    • wambururu

      July 1, 2013 at 8:25 am

      I have gathered information from sacco offiials and registered members; and, it is more easier to get a loan from a matatu sacco than from most banks. The first requirement {OLOKISE SACCO; RONGAI} is that you registered as a sacco member regardless of whether you own a matatu or not.Registration fee is 5000 Kenyan shillings; from there you will talk to the directors about your investment plans, and they will advice you on the right approach. Currently matatu drivers and conductors have been contributing /or rather saving with the sacco and about ten have been financed to buy 14 seaters. you start by visiting one of the matatu sacco offices in your area;i.e, the most convenient to you/ your choice route.

  7. george

    June 27, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    if i have kshs.200,000 can i get like kshs.500,000 to assist me buy a nissan matatu? pls advise me if NIC Bank if it can help

  8. Collins

    August 7, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    I love the blog and i have gone through all the questions and answers. I only need a little clarification,. you said a minibus can make a profit of 8000 per day on average after all expenses ave been paid for.
    1.So who takes care of the repairs in case i join a Sacco.
    2.When the bus no longer operates due to old age. do I take it back either for disposal?

    • wambururu

      August 14, 2013 at 1:57 pm

      Welcome Collins; The job of the Sacco is help you with savings and credit advice on how to to expand your business. Apart from being a Sacco member you will also have to sign a contract with a manager who will be in-charge of daily running of the matatu; ensuring that, it is on the road, handling all complains and also dealing with the legal side of this business.
      You get 8000.00 per day for a 33-37 seater minibus. This money is transferred to your account every day or weekly depending on your agreement with the manager. You will pay for maintenance of the vehicle. The manager will make sure that 8000KSH goes into your account as long as the vehicle is in good working condition. Drivers are paid daily but that is not from the 8000 Net.

  9. Joseph Kamau

    October 6, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    Hi, brief question. Can you register with the OLEKISE SACCO, bring in your bus that you have financed by your own means, and operate it in route 125 while hiring your own driver and conductor. Given that your financing was not done thru the SACCO, can you then operate your vehicle independently? what other obiligations would you have with the SACCO?

    • wambururu

      October 8, 2013 at 3:53 pm

      Yes you can register and enjoy all the benefits of the Sacco. Choosing to have your investment managed by orokise is a personal decision not a regulation. For a minibus you need 5000 for membership; 15000 for trade mark LOGO and the Sacco will provide you will all the relevant document you need to process your TLB for route 125.

  10. joseph moses

    October 16, 2013 at 11:01 am

    OROKISE Sacco fleess investors….beware

    • wambururu

      October 22, 2013 at 10:46 am

      share what you know, you could help many. You can also call me and i will seek the truth and publish it in this blog and in their website. I would hate to mislead others. how did it happen in your case?

  11. Alvin J.

    October 28, 2013 at 4:40 am

    Hello Mr. Wamburu. I want to buy a 14 seater nissan caravan to operate outside Nairobi. Can you please tell me my best choices I have i.e should I import a used one from Japan or Dubai? Does the Kenyan government still allow people to import used 14 seater matatus?

    • wambururu

      November 9, 2013 at 7:35 am

      yes you can import one from Dubai or even japan as long as you will operate outside Nairobi. most long distance vehicle owners have this new model Nissans and Toyotas, as long as it is not over 10 yrs since manufacturing date, the government has no problems giving the license.

  12. Jeff Gathethe

    October 28, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    i have 800k and want to invest in this industry ,specifically the Nairobi meru route,Unique shuttle,
    what bank would you recommend i go to for asset finance ?ive gone to NIC but apparently they dont do Ex japan vehicles.

  13. Elly

    November 5, 2013 at 9:03 am

    Thanks for the good work you are doing, I can confidently say that I have not found a matatu investment blog/site that matches yours. What is the minimum amount I need to start operating a secondhand matatu in your SACCO? I understand you manage matatus, how exactly does this work (As in, how do I pay you and what do I get in return)?

    • wambururu

      November 9, 2013 at 6:52 am

      It always feel good to know there are people out there reading what we are sharing on this blog.
      To start with, the list you can investment in the matatu industry today is 600k. that will get you a used but still useful second hand 14 seater Toyota or nissan. from there, you will need to join a matatu Sacco. In my work, I associate with OLOKISE Sacco who supply me with Insurance, TLb and all legal requirements for the drivers and conductors. The Sacco takes 200ksh everyday for the LOGO and also representation and the manager{ in this case me] 300ksh to oversee all is well and the vehicle is making money.
      What we do is agree on how much you need from your vehicle on daily basis and then we know what duties i perform and what part you play. for instance, If you would take care of the police and maintenance like routine servicing, i can guarantee you that you will get 3000 ksh per day. But with the police on my shoulders you get 2500.

      • Nicholas

        December 30, 2013 at 9:58 am

        Earlier I read that a 14 seater matatu can give 3-4-4500 per day.why is it that in a Sacco the figure changes to 2500 when the manager takes care of the police and 3000 when the owner is taking care of the police. And must the police be taken care of everyday, even if the vehicle has all the requirements to operate.

  14. Sally

    November 13, 2013 at 9:35 am

    This is a very good blog you have here. My question is, how much do I need to buy a Matatu (in a reasonable condition) to use in a long distance route (say Kisumu-Nairobi or Eldoret-Nairobi)? Do you know any SACCO that I can save with to get a loan given that I am not in formal employment (I run my own businesses)?

  15. Benard Ogoi

    December 14, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    Am humbled by your educative investment ideas and how you articulately answer questions directed to you. I will get to you in due course once I am ready with certain issues.

  16. shem mogaka

    March 8, 2014 at 12:24 am


    mr wambururu you are one of a kind.

  17. F.M.M

    March 17, 2014 at 11:54 am

    Mr Wambururu, I really appreciate your insightful comments. What are the greatest challenges in running the Matatu Business?

  18. Zeem Ole Tipis

    April 2, 2014 at 3:13 pm

    Hello, I like what your doin’ its close to impossible to get any details regarding this industry online.. Am Young Investor and I have being eyeing the transport industry for a while now.. I have the means of acquiring a new 37 seater bus but some one hinted me to apply for two instead via loans.. What’s your take on that?

    • wambururu

      April 2, 2014 at 3:22 pm

      Go for two, you stand a better chance of owning them both in less than a year. Since you already have enough to clear the first one, you might even decide to add another {3rd} since most of your deposit will be sitting in the bank. My take: don’t get in to this business as a side thing to keep you occupied. come on bound and build a trade mark. I can get you in touch with K-REP if you so wish.

  19. ahmed

    May 30, 2014 at 9:28 pm

    Hello,I really appreciate what your doing. can you advice me the price of new of a 14 seater matatu and imported one

  20. michael ogweno

    July 3, 2014 at 5:39 pm

    hi wambururu.
    we appreciate your concern for matatu investors. i want to operate my matatu on long distance route,say 200km apart for two towns. am i able to earn more per day than the short distance operation, i.e (from nairobi to rongai)

    • wambururu

      July 7, 2014 at 10:05 am

      It is tricky but the sums do add up in terms of income per month. What I’m trying to say is-A matatu plying the Nairobi- Ngong- Kitengera- Rongai or Ruiru route makes about 4000 shilings daily, while as, A shuttle makes like; three return trips in a week and makes 8000 per trip.

      • Janis Gachoki

        March 11, 2015 at 11:02 am

        How can i get in touch with u

        • wambururu

          March 12, 2015 at 2:08 pm

          James 0724 384676

          LUCY 0722 807622
          OROKISE SACCO.

  21. M kahura

    September 25, 2014 at 10:40 am

    Impressive information thank you for the good work you are doing

  22. David Nicholas

    October 31, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    wonderful ideas.keep it up brethren and be blessed.

  23. aringo gideon

    November 14, 2014 at 7:58 pm

    nataka kuchange engine ya nissan caravan 3.0Di na engine ya T-shark…wil that be a good option for starting a lounching pad to ma passion in the matatu biz which is greatly competitive out there pliz wambururu advice here ni yule boy ulikua nae grogon sometimes back

    • wambururu

      November 17, 2014 at 3:05 pm

      you don’t have to change the Engine- choose your route properly. Nissan do well for short and no hills routes. decide on how much you are comfortable with decide the distance.
      You have waited too long if this is the same vehicle we were fitting seats at grogon.
      I sent you emails to pick you sticker but you never did. come to Rongai when you have time. we can work out something.

  24. Peter John.

    November 20, 2014 at 5:52 am

    Hello Mr. Wambururu, I must comment you on the insightful advices you share with us pertaining Matatu industry investment. I have a question or you may call it clarification and this is in reference with what Nicholas asked on December 30, 2013 at 9:58 am, what exactly is the average earnings per day of a 14 seater matatu?

  25. jokanga

    December 3, 2014 at 10:21 am

    great blog wambururu, keep it up

  26. Augustina

    January 12, 2015 at 2:01 pm

    Heck of a job there, it abtluosely helps me out.

  27. Zeph001

    January 25, 2015 at 3:45 pm

    i need a well reconditioned 14 seater toyota 7L

  28. Fred Waweru

    January 26, 2015 at 10:34 pm

    Good work on the advises that you providing to your fellow Kenyans who are interested in investing on the Matatu business. Rarely do you find individuals who can give you comprehensive information like you have done. Keep on going…

  29. Mike

    March 9, 2015 at 12:00 pm

    Hello Mr wamburu, am mikE from kiambu and I won’t to join transport industry with a start of 14seat matatu. Then we see how its goes. Can I get secondhand; a good one from 5to 6 hurdread thousand? Can you help me search one and there is a payment for u coz. I want to give it to my brother for he’s been in business for 20years. he has never had any other job apart from matatu driver.

    • wambururu

      March 12, 2015 at 2:18 pm

      Yes mike please get in touch. i might have one for you. James 0724 384676

  30. Janis Gachoki

    March 11, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    Hii i want to buy a bus 33seater n register with olokise…kindly give me a number i can access the number to call them

  31. Edwin

    March 20, 2015 at 11:06 am

    Thanks for this articles. I personally think matatu is the way to go. The other article is a real eye opener into to public transport sector, capital gives me a scare. Also facing the credit lenders with nothing or very little. But what are the hopes for a person eying this as their line of business but finances keeps them at bay


    March 22, 2015 at 11:36 am

    Hi,Mr thank you for your wonderful insight about matatu business.Av been trying to raise cash to import a used hiace for this business and so far i have got around 1m but av realized they r getting more and more expensive as time gets by. A m seeing a possibility of by the time i get 2m may be they will be going for 3m and so forth. so, now my plan is to partner with a HONEST and willing person out there. so whats your advice and who is out there with the same interest? the partnership should be well discussed and all agreements made before an advocate.

  33. Betty

    March 23, 2015 at 9:43 am

    Wamburu.. your blog is one of a kind and the information you provide here is very healthy and optimistic. I read your blog everyday because it energizes me. Please keep up. I am composing a few questions and will post them shortly.

  34. Peter

    March 26, 2015 at 7:43 am

    I have a 33 seater bus with good music system clean interior, I want to sell it due to some financial constraints on other investments. if interested email me

  35. Paul Otieno

    April 11, 2015 at 8:44 am

    Hi Mr. Wambururu. First and foremost, allow me extend to you a hand of glowing tribute. You are simply amazing! Frankly speaking, I have lost count of the number of times the thought of investing in the transport industry has hit me. However, my challenges have always been first how to secure a loan to enable me buy a 14 seater matatu and secondly, how to manage the business even if am to own one but owing to your illuminating responses to the barrage of questions asked about this business, I am now more than encouraged and willing to give it a try. My ultimate goal is not really to stick to the Matatu business but to own the big trucks later in life. Please share with me your phone or email contacts, whichever you deem convenient, so that I may consult you more. Much Regards.

  36. joseck

    September 7, 2015 at 4:52 am

    Nice blog boss ,Btw 14 or 25 seaters which can you recommend for a starters like me?and pliz also i do request for your contacts. joseck

    • wambururu

      September 8, 2015 at 7:56 am

      james kariuki +254724384676.

  37. joel

    January 6, 2016 at 11:59 am

    i would like to benefit from the sacco

  38. kelvin

    April 23, 2016 at 7:51 am

    Good work.


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